Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I started listening to this book on a whim when I was in the mood for an audiobook, and I’m so glad that I did. The audiobook is excellent, the story is absolutely wonderful, and my heart is full of compassion for these characters.

At first, I was a little confused about what was happening. The timeline was jumping around and all the descriptions felt very abstract. But then about an hour into the book I started focusing better and fell in love with the story.

Lazlo Strange is a librarian, hungry for any knowledge about the “mythical” city of Weep. When Lazlo was a child, he dreamed of going to Weep. Then one day the true name of the city disappeared from his mind and he has been forever enthralled with trying to discover why that happened.

What’s interesting is that the story is written in a third-person omniscient voice, which is rather unusual, I think. There would be two sentences in the same paragraph about two people who don’t know each other doing two different things in two different locations. It was very different, and I think it might have added to some of the confusion, but I’m glad to have read a book like this anyway.

Unfortunately, I felt detached from all the characters in the book except for Lazlo and, eventually, Sarai. I don’t know if that was because of the omnipresent voice or because I listened to the audiobook, but it made me a little sad that I didn’t connect with more of the characters. However, Lazlo and Sarai are so precious and I love them so much.

This book made me think about what it means to be a god. If a god can be killed and controlled by humans, is he or she really even a god? Is a god someone with an unnatural ability? What happens then when an ordinary human develops or discovers an unnatural ability, do they become a god? Is it someone who lives away from the rest and looks over the people? What happens then when they come to earth? What does a human have to do to become a god? There are godchildren in this book, but I can’t really tell why they’re considered “gods,” or what even makes a god. I see this issue quite a bit in fantastical literature, so it’d be interesting to research it more.

Laini Taylor’s descriptions of the ethereal dreamscapes are so vivid and lush. I’ve never read a book before in which the main character spends half the book sleeping, yet I found myself looking forward to the chapters when Lazlo would lie down in bed each night. It made me so happy to see Sarai and Lazlo together in his dreams.

Strange the Dreamer is about dreams and books and libraries and alchemy and fairy tales and magic. It’s turning out to be quite difficult to fully describe or review this book, but it was such a beautiful story. I’m so glad I listened to it, and now I’m ready to devour Muse of Nightmares when it comes out in a few days!

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